Many pull-ups (24)

by Rob Tiller

Yesterday I did 24 pull-ups.  This equals my all time best from last December.   It’s difficult to note this fact without seeming to brag, and I hate bragging, but I note it anyway, because I myself find it hard to believe this is possible at age 53.  I could not have come close to this feat at age 24.  

I began doing pull-ups perhaps eight years ago.  Why?  I liked the combined simplicity and drama of the exercise.  Years ago there was a recruiting ad for the Marines that consisted mainly of a young man doing many pull-ups, and it made an impression.  I liked the fact and the symbol of pulling my own weight. Plus, it seemed like a good challenge.  But it was difficult.  My initial goal was ten, and I had reason to doubt that could ever be achieved.  Getting more than five took a while.  I remember hurting my wrists and giving up for a period when I got to nine.

Eventually when aiming for 10, I suddenly made it to 12.  I wondered what it would feel like to do 15.  When aiming for that, one day I did 17.  I started to wonder about 20.    

Recently I’ve been doing about 20 three times a week.  I cycle through  three different grips:  inward, front-facing, and back-facing.  My highest numbers are generally with the inward grip, and this was what I used yesterday.  I did the pull-ups after core exercises and 25 minutes of cardio, but before other upper-body resistance exercises.  My current goal is 25.  That should be enough.  We’ll see.